English R1B

Reading and Composition: Romantic Self / Romantic Others

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Fall 2018 O'Connor, Megan
MWF 1-2 45 Evans

Book List

Abrams, M. H. (ed. Greenblatt, et al.): The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. D, The Romantic Period; Hogg, James: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein;

Recommended: Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers: A Pocket Style Manual


What shocks the virtuous philosopher delights the chameleon poet... A poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence, because he has no identity—he is continually in for and filling some other body.—John Keats, Letter to Richard Woodhouse, 27 October 1818

When John Keats writes of the "chameleon poet" that "has no identity" and that wholly inhabits "some other body," he contrasts his model of poetic (non-)identity with William Wordsworth's so-called "egotistical Sublime." Wordsworth's poetry, Keats suggests, is all ego—all self and no other. While the stereotype of the solitary and even solipsistic Romantic lyric poet remains our most enduring commonplace about Romanticism, Keats's letter suggests that there are other competing models of identity that take shape in Romantic literature. From roadside encounters with strangers and the melancholy speakers of Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, to the "creature" and the "Arabian" Safie in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, this course will explore different models of Romantic literary selfhood and their relations to the representation of others. How do literary forms and genres shape the identities of Romantic selves and others? How does poetry imagine the shoring up or transgressing of boundaries of the self? To what extent is British Romantic selfhood defined and stabilized in opposition to non-European and non-human others? Alternatively, to what extent is identity mutable, performed, and hybridized?

This R1B course will continue to build on the reading, writing, and critical thinking practices developed in R1A. We will focus on analyzing and constructing complex and sustained arguments. The writing assignments will be longer than in R1A, and papers will incorporare a research component. 

Note the new instructor for this section.

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